Descendants of the Foxall family - the original owners of Killeavy Castle - arrived at the newly refurbished premises last week to pay respect to their spectacular heritage.
Formerly known as Killeavy Lodge, it was the residence of the Foxall family, whose vault is situated nearby, at St Luke’s Parish Church. In 1836, Powell Foxall, a banker from Newry, commissioned an architect to enlarge his modest farmhouse. It was subsequently transformed into the small Gothic Castle existing today. In the late 17th century the Bell family took ownership of the Castle and Estate until the death of Maureen Bell in 2000.
Powell and Syd Foxall, the Australian-born great-grandsons of the original owner, told the Newry Reporter how ‘incredible’ it is to see this piece of their family history, now it has been refurbished by the Boyle family. Powell had visited the castle once before, in 2011, however, this is Syd’s first time ever seeing it. “I was here eight years ago when the old castle was in a really bad state of disrepair,” Powell said.
“When we heard about it being restored, we said that when and if it ever gets done, we would go and have a look at it and we can’t believe the difference. It’s just amazing the foresight that people doing the redevelopment have put into the place because everything has been so wonderful from the castle to the farm. It is just incredible, it’s amazing, and it’s really wonderful.”
The pair were accompanied by other descendants of the original owner including Syd’s three nieces, Powell’s niece and a distant relative from America. The two cousins had no idea about the castle which once belonged to their family until around 12 years ago.
“We didn’t know too much about our ancestors until it was only perchance that we came across that there was a castle here and that was about 12 years ago,” Syd said.
“There are still a few blanks on what we are trying to trace back to our grandfather. We believe he came to Australia in 1852 but we are definite, that is one of the missing links. I have also tried to find if there are other descendants in the area but I haven’t been able to find anyone,” Powell added.
Jason Foody, the General Manager of Killeavy Castle told the Reporter it was nice to be able to invite the descendants of the Foxall to see the refurbished premises. “The first thing they saw was the lovely big family crest above the door and that we had kept everything as original as possible,” he said. “When Powell was here in 2011, he wouldn’t have been inside, so it’s nice to get some feedback and also bring a bit of nostalgia for the family as well.”